By Helena Li Hai, John C. Frankosky, Russell. R. Hornung, and Michael T. Smith, Arlon Materials for Electronics
Abstract - Millimeter applications place heightened and unique requirements on circuit board laminates used as transmission lines or as antennas. Historically, applications were low volume. Materials were either adapted from standard or semi-standard products that were not ideal for millimeter-wave or the materials that were military grade in nature. Recent growth of millimeter applications, such as ACC (adaptive cruise control) and side lane changing sensors for standard, high volume, affordably priced vehicles or commercial millimeter communication systems, has driven circuit board laminate fabricators to innovate materials. This article explores advancements in millimeter-wave circuit boards and the technical requirements placed on materials.
Millimeter-waves offer many advantages associated with the higher operating frequency. This includes increased bandwidth, improved resolution and directivity (due to narrower beams) for a given antenna aperture. This can mean smaller, lightweight systems offering increased transmission capacity in the case of communication systems or improved resolution for radar or imaging systems. This assists in image recognition, or to help identify explosive materials by their spectroscopic signatures.